Next steps for families in Northborough’s emergency shelter

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Next steps for families in Northborough’s emergency shelter
Northborough Town Hall is located on Main Street. Town leaders recently announced that some of the families in the shelter program may be moved to Auburn. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – Some of the families in Northborough’s emergency shelter program may be moving to an Auburn shelter.

There were 29 families — or 101 individuals — in the emergency shelter in Northborough.

The town was notified on Jan. 2 that the families were going to be moved to a hotel in Auburn as part of the state’s consolidation plan, according to interim Health Director Isabella Caruso, who provided an update to the Select Board Jan. 8. The Auburn shelter will be staffed by a shelter service provider.

She said the families were originally going to move on Jan. 8, but that date was moved following a meeting with town officials and the local legislators to Jan. 18. Caruso said the staff worked with the school district and other providers to secure transportation for students who want to continue to the Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough.

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“A lot has been going on to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible,” said Caruso.

She also shared data on where the families stood in terms of employment and permanent housing.

According to Caruso, 38 out of the 57 adults have obtained full-time employment. Of the 29 families, 24 families have at least one member working full-time, and 15 families have two adults working.

Twenty-two families have connected with at least one property owner and were ready to apply to the state’s HomeBASE program through Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance (CMHA).

“We’re really getting these families on their feet, ready to get out of the shelter system,” said Caruso.

CMHA has proposed to the state maintaining the coordination of housing and services for the majority of the Northborough families that are working and striving to find housing. That will be the state’s decision, Caruso said.

Those 22 families would continue to stay in town, and the other seven families would move to Auburn.

According to Caruso, CMHA’s proposal states that for any of the 22 families who have haven’t been accepted into the HomeBASE program or found housing by May, CMHA would strive to bring the families into their shelter.

“I just need to say how impressed I am with the staff of how they’ve handled this. We became advocates for the right thing for these folks down there,” said Town Administrator Tim McInerney.

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